Weekend repairs on track for 2, 3, and later, F tubes


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is quietly planning repairs to the Hurricane Sandy-ravaged 2 and 3 and F train tunnels between Brooklyn and Manhattan, in a similar vein to the much-fretted-about fix-ups that will likely see the L tube close for more than a year.

But unlike the L work — for which the M.T.A. has held public meetings and created flashy informational videos — the authority has been vague on when these other repairs would happen, how long they would take, or how they would affect the lines, and now straphangers are demanding answers.

The 2012 superstorm sent saltwater gushing into the 2 and 3 trains’ and the F train’s East River tunnels, damaging tracks, signals, ducts, power and communication cables, and now workers need extended access to fix them, according to agency spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.

Repairs to the F tunnel would affect the 155,000 passengers who zip through it every day. The agency will name a contractor for the job in 2018, Ortiz said last week, but he initially claimed it was too soon to know exactly when the work would start or end, and if the agency would need to close the tunnel on weekdays.

Riders were keeping their fingers crossed that the closures would only take place on nights and weekends, so their daily commutes would not be disrupted.

The Brooklyn Paper reported last week that the M.T.A. wasn’t saying whether the F train repairs would close the tunnel on weekdays. The agency subsequently said the F tunnel would only be closed for repairs on weekends at some point in the coming years, but didn’t offer more specifics.

Repairs to the 2 and 3 tunnel — which 150,000 passengers traverse every weekday — will take place first and only happen on weekends, Ortiz said, though he wouldn’t say when or how that would impact the rest of the line. The authority will reveal more only after it names a contractor sometime this month, he said.

Sandy did less damage to the 2 and 3 tube than the F tunnel — battering the former with 500,000 gallons of saltwater, in contrast to the 1.5 million gallons that filled the orange line, according to Ortiz.

The L train’s Canarsie tube under the East River, however, is longer than the Clark and Rutgers tunnels and took in a whopping 6 million gallons of water during the hurricane.

The M.T.A. plans to either close the L tunnel entirely for 18 months or partially for three years. It will name a contractor by the end of the year and work will begin in 2019, Ortiz said.

The Clark, Rutgers and Canarsie tunnels are the last of the Sandy-swamped East River tubes still in need of mending. The authority is halfway through repairs to the 4 and 5 tube. It has been closing the connection on weekends since March 11, and is slated to wrap up 13 weeks later on July 25.

The M.T.A. closed the R tunnel for 13 straight months during 2013 and 2014, the G train’s Greenpoint tube to Queens for 12 weekends in 2014 and five full weeks in 2014, and the A and C tunnel for 40 weekends last year.